Technically this is the third day of games, with the play-in games occurring on Tuesday and Wednesday, but this was the opening day of the round of 64. I expected this to be an eventful first round, and my expectations was right. Here is the list of the 5 games that was decided by one point, most ever in a single in NCAA Tournament history.
- UAB over Iowa State 60-59 - South Region
- Georgia State over Baylor 57-56 - West Region
- Cincinattii over Purdue 66-65 - Midwest Region
- NC-State over LSU 66-65 - East Region
- UCLA over SMU 60-59 - South Region
First game of the day, it was between the CAA Champs and the ACC Champs in the Midwest region. Nobody expected the Huskies of Northeastern to give the Irish a scare, but I did. After watching the Huskies, live in action, win the CAA tournament two weeks ago, I knew they would give whoever they played a run for their money because of their size and guard play. David Walker and 6'10 Scott Eatherton combined for 33 points but it wasn't enough to complete the upset. The final piece of the Big 3, Quincy Ford only finished with 9 points, but I don't think he took enough shots, shooting 4-8 from the field. Zach Auguste of Notre Dame finished with 25 while Jerian Grant scored 17. The Irish will now face #6 Butler in the round of 32.
I'm surprised by this one because I thought the Cyclones were on a hot streak and would at least make it to the Sweet 16 but I guess not. UAB is 19-15 on the season, scored less than their season average (68), shot only 35%, but held the Cyclones to what may have been their worse shooting performance, 37% from the field, 26% from the field the 3-point line. UAB also out rebounded the Cyclones 52-37, 19-9 on the offensive boards. In the South region, UAB will play #11 UCLA in the round of 32.
This was probably the most shocking upset of the day, mainly because of how it ended. Baylor was up 10 with two minutes remaining but Georgia State star and coach's son, R.J. Hunter went on a personal game winning 10-0 run, capping it with a 30-foot go-ahead trey ball with 2.7 seconds remaining. When RJ knocked down that go-ahead three, his father, who is suffering from a torn achilles, fell out of his chair but still was sending out outlet plays on the ground, it will defeinitley be the play of the tournament. Baylor went scoreless on that final run, also committing 3 turnovers, 21 total in the game. I'm not surprised by this only because I called it. GSU will now face #6 Xavier in the round of 32.
Initially I thought this was a bad call but once you see it from the view over the basket, you can clearly see it was going to hit the rim. Yanick Moreira said in the post game press conference that he should have let it touch the rim first and also taking full blame for his team's one point loss, and I give much resect to him for that. Because of Yanick's brain fart though, Bryce Alford is awarded the game winning trey ball, which I don't really count as that. UCLA will now play UAB and I'm not to confident that they will be beat them.
Shoutout to BeeJay Anya, DMV kid and Dematha product, for sending his Wolfpack team to the round of 32 with his quick hook shot right before the buzzer. I love when I watch college basketball and see all different types of talent from the state of Maryland. What I don't love is that these kids are playing all over the country expect UMD. Things are changing though, Thank You Mr. Trimble.
Hampton made it to the tournament by winning the MEAC title, then winning a play in game to face the overall #1 seed and undefeated, Kentucky Wildcats. To most, they saw deadmen walking, but I respected the heart of the Pirates. They walked on that court with the mindset that they're a better team than the Wildcats, which is mandatory in sports. Becuase of the disparity in talent, Kentucky smashed Hampton 79-56. Because of the Pirates losing record, it would have took the work of god himself to help them to a win this game. Still, I like the Pirates heart to walk into that situation and just play hard, especially in this era of coaches telling high school girls to play to lose so they won't play the juggernaut
6'6 Quinton Chievous of Hampton scored 22 points and snatched 10 boards, leading all scorers.
Kentucky continue their pursuit for perfection, heading to the round of 32 to face the #8 Cincinnati Bearcats in the midwest region, who will give them a tougher challenge than Hampton. I don't think they have enough to end the streak, but it's not impossible for the Bearcats to win though.
What I found interesting about this tweet is that even though young black athletes are what control the airwaves, they're not attending Historically Black Colleges. You can't be too mad at the networks because they want to broadcast what the masses want to see, which are 9 McDonald's All-Americans that play at Kentucky. HBCU's can't even get one McDonald All-American. In the history of the conference not one McDAA has played at an HBCU, Jarrod Mustaf being the only player to have an HBCU as one of his final 2 schools (Howard and Maryland in 1981). It's remarkable but also troublesome, when you realize that billion of dollars are being made by schools who are not specifically setup to see young black students thrive. Lack of resources is the only explanation for this ordeal, Hampton facilities compared to Kentucky's is like comparing a start-up company to a billion dollar corporation. You could also add exposure but if the athletes start deciding to go to an HBCUs, then the stations and money will follow. That will take years of trying to change the mindset of a generation.